Thursday, January 30, 2014

Virual Education Assessment: Part II

As I perused some of the Google+ groups, I came across some interesting conversations that seemed to suggest that because of the evolving nature of the Internet, why do we really need teachers at all? The suggestion that the quality of self-education from information on the Internet has reached such a level that all the necessary skills and knowledge needed could be acquired without dealing with teachers. It is just a matter of getting higher learning institutions such as universities and colleges to accept the acquired skills and knowledge as meeting their requirements for admission. To get politicians to fall in line, all we have to do is to threaten them with voting collectively against them at election time. A few individuals suggested that with this new found autonomy, "life-long learning" could be finally realized rather than just being a phrase trotted out by learning institutions to impress tax payers and government officials. Keep in mind that as absurd as this may sound, there are families around the world who have performed "home-schooling" with their students all their lives and most importantly, upon testing, some institutions have admitted home-schooled students as fully meeting their requirements.

This should be a wake-up call for all teachers. If you don't re-define your role as educators to meet the new demands of a new environment, they will be re-defined for you. You need to see yourselves as not masters of all knowledge but masters at using all the tools for education that are presently available and are in development in the online world. Too often we discover niche tools that we think are flashy but we don't really take the time to objectively evaluate them. It seems that blogs that get the most hits are ones who have taken the time to sift through thousands of ideas, YouTube videos...etc. But that is not innovation unless you are intimately involved in the creation of the tool. You need to be on the front lines of innovation in your profession.
What this means in terms of assessment is that we need to be innovators so that our methods of assessment fit seamlessly with the environment of online education. I don't believe that teachers are becoming obsolete but I do think that we have a lot of growing up to do. Let's face it assessment theory was never one of a educators favourite pastimes. Now, out of necessity we need to lead the way because teaching is our calling. Would you allow someone who learned heart operations through watching YouTube videos operate on your loved ones?
So, what type of innovations can we come up with regards to assessment that would be effective and yet different from what's been done. This is why teachers being involved in Google+ groups and communities is a good first step. There needs to be an evolution in what we call best practices and once and for all we need to break the bonds of the old industrial model of education.

Perhaps I am a little too verbose. it would be great if you could make your ideas known through the comments to this blog. We need to communicate with each other. The clock is ticking.......

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